Dan has served as Entertainment Director of the SHAPE Performing Arts Centre and SHAPE
Players since 2006 directing over 50 productions and winning 40 awards
including Employee of the Year after serving 2 years in his position. He founded and was the Artistic Director of Center Theater Ensemble (CTE), an ensemble theater and professional training program for actors, directors and playwrights for over 15 years. During his tenure with CTE, he directed over 35 productions, was awarded an After Dark Award for Direction for Detachments; was nominated twice for Joseph Jefferson Citations for direction for Merrily We Roll Along and The Lusty and Comical History of Tom Jones and received two Artisan Citations for outstanding seasons in 1987 and 1991. He has directed at the Wisdom Bridge Theatre, National Jewish Theatre and Pegasus Players in Chicago. In New York City, he directed Colleen Dodson's one woman show Straight Arrows, a concert reading of Detachments at the West Bank Cafe, the world premiere of CLUBLAND in the New York Fringe Festival and recently The Years at the Independent Theatre. As a playwright, he conceived and wrote the book for CTE's successful musical Two Many Bosses, which received five Artisan Awards including Best Production. He was also awarded the Ronald Williams Award for his play Such Is Life.
Since moving to New York City, he has held the positions of Executive Director for the Pascal Rioult Dance Theatre, a modern dance company, and Managing Director of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, a resource center for directors and choreographers.
In October of 2001, he returned to Chicago to direct Orpheus Descending for The Artistic Home and again in 2002 to direct the world premiere of Memories of Viola.
THEATRE AND DANCE INSTRUCTOR
CeLyna started acting in Shakespearean plays at the age of 8. Since then she continued her passion for the theater and film with on stage roles and behind the scene contributions. In August 2018 CeLyna’s husband was assigned to Shape. CeLyna was able to continue her community theater here on Shape since May 2019 on stage and also as a seamstress. During the day CeLyna works as a freelancer at the Shape Arts & Crafts Center as the sewing and crocheting instructor. CeLyna loves to share her passion of the arts with the extraordinary youth here on Shape.
Olivier entered SHAPE in 1999. He is serving the entertainment program in a variety of aspects, with a particular interest for lighting and scenery. Being involved in production, and administrative and technical support offers a complete approach to the performing arts.
Olivier has been involved in theatre since the age of 12 and has co-managed a student theatre association for over five years in Mons, Belgium. This experience has allowed him to perform several parts on stage and to direct five plays. He studied the Italian Theatre, Commedia dell’Arte, for a year and has a passion for Moliere and La Comedie Francaise. He directed a comedie-ballet from Moliere, The Imaginary Invalid, in September 2002. This was a premiere for the SHAPE Community.
Olivier has a degree in Communication-Journalism and a degree in Theatre Management-Arts Design. He worked for over ten years in radio and television broadcast before entering SHAPE. He also worked in the film festival industry for three years, which gave him the opportunity to be part of the production team for a short movie called Love Seat.
THEATRE AND VOCAL INSTRUCTOR
Tracy Gittins learned to read and sing harmony at an early age from his parents and older siblings.
He learned to play trumpet the summer after fifth grade, then sank an octave, later two octaves during his teenage years to the depths of trombone, baritone, and tuba which you might now see him play day and night at SHAPE’s Make-a-Wish event each spring. During the 70’s and 80’s Tracy played in several marching and pep bands. He played low brass professionally at LaGoon (Utah amusement park) and the Utah Jazz (NBA) Band. He received bachelor’s degrees in music education, Spanish, and TESOL from the University of Utah and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences from Brigham Young University.
Studying jazz piano for two years at the Baudour Académie de Musique, he made cherished Belgian musical contacts. He is currently a trombonist and vocalist with a local big band, Fifty Shades of Jazz (formerly Jazzy Jazz Band). Since 1987 Tracy has been an ESL teacher, music specialist, and librarian in his native Utah; Okinawa, Japan; and SHAPE. He currently holds the enviable position of elementary school librarian in the U.S. section of SHAPE,where he shares books all day with children, their parents, and their teachers.
Tracy has taken part in twenty SHAPE Players’ productions, from Scrooge in 2007, where he played three roles to LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS where he provided the singing voice to the agile onstage plant puppetry of Thomas Reich in 2015. Musical highlights: 1) bringing to life the two little-known (not in the movie version) songs from SOUND OF MUSIC as Uncle Max; 2) starring as J. Bowden Hapgood in the seldom-produced Sondheim musical, ANYONE CAN WHISTLE; and 3) forcefully singing of the Founding Fathers’ hypocrisy in ‘Molasses to Rum’ as Edward Rutledge (SC) in the musical 1776. After four nominations, he received the 2013 TOPPER for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Cervantes/Don Quixote in MAN OF LA MANCHA.
Having his own real-life Dulcinea, wife María Blanca Velásquez Urey in the audience for the final four
performances remains THE highlight of his acting career. María Blanca still lives in South America, where, once Tracy gets his Belgian mortgage paid off, he will semi-retire to work for the rural poor of Bolivia in Mano a Mano (www.manoamano.org) Tracy has been the
musical director for the SHAPE Performing Arts Center’s Theatre Camp productions and Glee Me, Please since 2011.
Yasmine Sliman Lawton
THEATRE AND DANCE INSTRUCTOR
Yesmine has started dancing at the age of 6, learning ballet and modern jazz at the DANCE CENTER in Mons. After being involved in many dance gala with key roles she the enterred the companie "Ballet Area" created by Marie Chritine Maigret de Priche. The company had many show including a representation in washigton. At the age of 19 she started to be a dance teacher at the Dance Center, She was in charge of the modern jazz classes but she introduced in the school the new styles of dances such as hip hop and funcky jazz. Yesmine has greated more than 50 choreography, most of them were perfomed by her students at the Théâtre Royal of Mons.
Meg Long has been a vocal coach and Musical Director for the SHAPE Performing Arts School since 2013.
She spends her days working as a counselor at the SHAPE Behavioral Health Clinic, but most evenings you’ll find her at the theater rehearsing with the SHAPE PLAYERS performing in everything from musicals to dramas.
Meg first worked with the SHAPE Performing Arts School as the Music Director for ‘The Little Mermaid’ but most recently has serving as Production Assistant of the Fractured Fairy Tales class workshops.
She loves working with the extraordinarily talented youth in our community and looks forward to many more seasons..
THEATRE AND MUSIC INSTRUCTOR
Heidrun was born in Bonn, Germany but soon left with her parents and two older brothers to reside in Turkey and then later Kenya. In the early ‘90s, she returned to Germany and upon graduation from Gymnasium, she immediately began her studies in Lectureship.
Having played piano most of her life, she easily decided to choose Music and Mathematics as her two main subjects, graduating with a degree in Primary and Secondary Education in 1999.
She then furthered her studies to become an instrumental teacher who has taught at several public schools during her career in education. Since 2005 Heidrun has been the accordionist of the "Winninger Winzer-, Trachten- und Tanzgruppe", a folkloristic dancing group with performances all over the world.
Having made the decision to search for job opportunities abroad, Heidrun and her husband along with their 4 children now reside in Belgium where she is leading the German choir, teaching private piano lessons and is a member of several dancing groups.